Saturday, December 31, 2005

And Now For the Rest of the Story…

By popular demand, I will expound on a prior blog. In regards to “…women have to accomplish things in other ways, and we can….”, here is the rest of the story.

What abilities do women use that men don’t have? What are the, um, qualities that give us an advantage over such strength that men possess?

Well, brains for one.
Men are born with attributes that they do not have to think about using. Testosterone, strength, focus, things that are hard wired.

Women have to learn how to use their brains through the fog of fear and adrenaline. It’s doable, it just takes some learning.

Women also have the gift of being female, something men are hard wired to notice and respond to.
I promise to keep this “G” rated…

So we have the ability to get men’s attention, this can play a very important part in accomplishing what we need to accomplish. Ladies, just be sure you get his attention with the right stuff. See the first sentence in paragraph three.

Those women who have some training can work the female angle to their advantage. For that man who is pursing you, and not in a nice way, be the damsel in distress until he lowers his guard. The last thing a man of this type expects is for a woman to actually have an understanding of how to defend herself.

Estrogen has its advantages. It makes us female, a quality most men cannot ignore. With recognition comes the ability to be heard.
We just gotta say the right things, the right way. Not just for ourselves individually, but for our gender.
Brains, ladies. That is our greatest strength.
Granted, looks don’t hurt either.
But that, my friends, is another blog, no so “G” rated….

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a happy holiday out there! Mine was fun! I got to spend it with my mom and it was the first of mine being some what alone...

I wish the best for all and a happy new year!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Testosterone vs Estrogen

I went to a private Dojo tonight to spar. I had a great time and learned so much. I did acquire a few more bruises, but nothing terrible.

There were four women and five men. Two of the women are teenage girls prepping for their black belt test in March. We all took turns with one another and by the end of the night, we had all sparred one another in turn. It was great.

After that, the men squared off and did body work. Which is basically trading body hits, hard body hits.

At one point, I couldn't help myself, I turned to one of my fellow female students and said, "Isn't testosterone amazing?"
And it is, men are so much stronger. All because of the endocrine system and a couple specific hormones. Those hormones hard-wire men and women so differently.

Women have strengths too, just not physical strengths. Watching the guys go at it really drove home the point that if you are female, you do not want to be on the receiving end of one of those hits. We just aren't built for it.
So we have to accomplish things in other ways. The cool thing is we can.

The more I study martial arts, the more I feel I understand why men and women are supposed to be together.

One's strength is the other's weakness, and vice versa.
Yin and Yang.

Very cool.

I Love This Sort of Evidence

I am a choc-a-holic! Here is some of the evidence that I love!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Update on the New Fish

I really love my new fish. They finally have names. The Black Moor is called Velvet. The two orange and black Orandas are Spike (after the Spike in the gremlins) and the other is Pumpkin. He just reminds me of a pumpkin, what can I say??

There are some hierarchical things that are still being worked out, but everyone is adjusting nicely.

Strange New Thoughts...

This is slightly morbid but for those of you who know me, you'll understand.

Week before last I was really ill. The kind of ill that makes you not quite able to find the phone to call into work. The next day, I wasn't any better and did manage somehow to go to the Dr's and get home.

However, upon arriving home, I laid very willingly on the nice cold floor of my bathroom. Then it occurred to me:

What if I don't get up? How long would it take for someone to miss me or would anyone miss me at all?
I remembered when I signed the lease on my current domicile, I had to fill in blanks as to who was allowed to enter my place upon some horrible travesty that left me, well, dead.

It is strange what thoughts enter one's head when you really are "out of your head" with fever.

As for my health, I was recovering, but then had a little re-occurrence. But I think I am finally on the road to recovery.

The fevered mind is a strange place.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mom's 71st

Mom's 71st
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Not many 71 year-old grandmothers will climb on an unknown horse (albeit safe!) and go for a bareback ride!! Isn't she great??!

Mom in the arena

Mom in the arena
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
As promised, here is one of the pictures of Mom horseback on her 71st birthday!

One more Semester Down!!

Tonight was my final in the Anatomy and Physiology II Class. Yippee!! No more books, at least for a few weeks! I went ahead and took the optional final, I already had an 'A' but curiosity killed the cat. Yes, a demented, sick, masochistic sense of curiosity, but nonetheless, I had to know what the final was going to be like.
It was easy.
So, another class toward my nursing degree down. Now if I can just get in...

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I watched a really fun movie last night. Hitch with Will Smith. It's premise is a "Date Doctor" who specialized in helping men who have met the true love of their lives, get her to notice and subsequently go out with said men.

This is not a movie about getting these men, um, physically sated shall we say. It was refreshingly about really good guys who just were terrified to actually tell this great woman he was crazy about her. I nice movie.

I personally really like Will Smith's acting and there is plenty to die laughing about in this film. Especially an unintentional round house kick to the head, but I'll say no more.

For a fun laugh with a good story, give it a try.


I went to the undergarment drawer this week and found its contents thread-bare, with holes and elastic that was, shall we say, no longer shape-retaining.

Time to go shopping for underthings.

It has been a while since I did this. I go buy bunches and then don't have to think about it for some time.

The choices are limitless! Boy shorts, high-rise, briefs, thong, low-rise, French cut and let's not forget string bikini.
And those weren't all the choices.

I had to get my bearings for a moment before I could even figure out which style to get.
I also wear men's boxers for workout under attire. You go to the men's section and how many choices?
Boxers or briefs.
Just two.
Now the men also have material choices, but as far as style, just two.
So much simpler.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving...

I am thankful for,

Furry Friends
My Frontal Cortex

Be thankful, each moment is a gift.

The Comfort of Furry Friends

I am house sitting for friends as they are away visiting family for the holidays. I have house sat for them before and it is always a great time. They have two cats and two dogs. The kitties are low key and affectionate... very cute! Their dogs are a basenji and a basenji mix.

Although I love all critters great and small, I have gotten especially close with one of their dogs, Tino, the full basenji. Both are rescues and Tino had experienced a rough life prior to his rescue to the house of wonderful love and care. So there is some baggage. But he is so much improved since I first met him and it is so wonderful to watch as he learns to trust again and take that leap-of-faith that this human will be different. That this time, no one is going to hurt him.

This time he's right.

So it is really special when he comes over to me, looks at me with those eyes that have way more intelligence than little doggy eyes should have and wordlessly asks, "So, can I get in your lap....Please?"
By all means.
Of course it gets a little better when he makes those contented little dog sounds, stretches, and rolls over in my lap so that I can rest a hand across his shoulders.
A belongingness for us both.

They give so much to us, these little furry friends, I was happy to be the couch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My 2nd Degree specialty Paper

November 20, 2005

Lisa Montgomery
2nd Degree Black Belt
Specialty: Tai Chi Ch’uan

I have chosen Tai Chi as my demonstration specialty for my 2nd degree black belt. Through this paper I will give a brief overview of the history of the form I study, Yang Short Form, and a discussion of how Tai Chi has influenced my Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do hard style. My hope is to illustrate how the concepts I am learning in Tai Chi have had a synergistic affect with my Tae Kwon Do kata and kumite. Through breath, relaxation, strength with balance and finally softness; all elements I have been studying in Tai Chi, I feel as though my Tae Kwon Do has attained better flow, intensity and power.

Tai Chi: A Brief History:

Tai Chi Ch’uan is believed to have its earliest beginnings from a Chinese physician, Hua-tu'o (2). He believed true health and longevity could only be attained through regular movement and exercise. Although he is not credited with a specific aspect of Tai Chi Ch’uan’s development, his philosophy about movement, breath and health are recognized as foundations to Tai Chi Ch’uan.

Key influential people in the development of Tai Chi Ch’uan cover many years. The history begins in China with the practice of mediation and Taoism. A 6th century B.C. philosopher Lao Tzu, developed philosophies regarding mediation that were in conjunction with his Taoist practices. His metaphors spoke of the relationship breath has with health and keeping the body fit, resulting in a long and healthy life. This belief in focusing both mind and breath together would become part of the solid foundation of Tai Chi Ch’uan in years to come (2).

In the third century AD the physician Hua To developed the “Movement of the Five Animals.” These were the earlier movements from which Tai Chi Ch’uan would grow from. Health exercises were later added by Ko Hung around 325 AD.

Ta Mo came to Shao Lin Buddhist mediation from China. He developed exercises to help with the health and mediation of the monks. These movements developed into a martial art having all the power and strength that is identified with most martial arts. The Taoist master Chang San-Feng created a series of exercise that became known as Tai Chi Ch’uan. He and Ta Mo had similar goals; to develop discipline that complemented the practice of mediation; thus a moving mediation. Ta Mo’s method is sometimes considered the “Shao Lin the Outside School” and Tai Chi Ch’uan, “The Inner School” because of its more fluid, soft movements (2).

As with many of the arts, over time the systems and styles of Tai Chi Ch’uan diverge with different masters, wars and leaders. As the figure below illustrates, Tai Chi Ch’uan has different branches although there are familiar elements with in each style. This family tree illustrates the branches of Tai Chi: Wu, Yang, Wu Shi and the many other branches illustrated here were each fall into either the northern or southern family of systems (1).

Source: (1)

Tai Chi; The First Element:

One of the tenants of all martial arts is breath. We use breathing to calm jumpy nerves, give energy to our techniques and improve our stamina in forms and sparring. Proper breathing pervades our life and is essential to a healthy existence. Breathing as well as the physical movement in Tai Chi should never be still. At least this is the aspiration. Learning to breathe in a consistent motion from the diaphragm has greatly improved my ability to perform not only Tai Chi but all of my Tae Kwon Do as well.

Breathing properly is the foundation in many types of meditation or meditative movement. In Yoga, learning to breathe is a lesson constantly practiced. Stationary meditation involves schooling one’s self to breathe evenly throughout the exercise. “Focus on the breath” is the first lesson one begins working on when learning to meditate. Considering Tai Chi Ch’uan’s development as moving mediation, learning the breath is the obvious first step, albeit one of the most difficult.

Learning to breathe as Tai Chi demands overflows directly into my hard form martial arts. Breathing was always discussed in Tae Kwon Do and therefore not completely foreign. With the addition of Tai Chi Chuan, breath began to give life to each technique; it helped me have better beginning, middle and end to all the techniques in my forms. Physiologically, deeper breathing simply gives more oxygen to the circulatory system, and thus more to the muscles doing the work. So with the habit of better breathing in place, my sparring gained more stamina. In the words of Mr. Danny Davis, “You control your breath, you control your life.”

Deep, even breathing brings me to the next element Tai Chi has helped me with.

Tai Chi Element Two:

The slowness of Tai Chi is a key part of its lesson of relaxation. Tai Chi is so very difficult, with so many movements and techniques occurring all at once that even as slowly as the art is practiced, it still seems way too fast when first learning it. There are the proper steps, keeping an even head-height, where the hands go, the angle of the torso, what the next posture is, and what transition will get you there; a great many things to internalize and learn. Oh, and remember to breathe. Sounds simple; very few things have been more difficult in my experience.

With persistence, you find the relaxation that Tai Chi’s slowness teaches. Compared to Tai Chi, my Tae Kwon Do forms are much more straightforward and simple. Case in point, you can learn them in a class, sometimes two. Granted the finer details and associated bunkai of my Tai Kwon Do forms may come much, much later. I can still get the gross movements down more quickly. Once I became more accustomed to all the detail of Tai Chi, when I went back to my Tae Kwon Do form, I found so much more ‘time’ in the form. Learning to relax and become more mentally still through the complexity of Tai Chi has greatly improved my Tae Kwon Do forms. In Tae Kwon Do, this relaxation and this ‘found time’ allowed me to decrease any rushed feeling I used to experience. Now the forms have their own cadence. All has its own time. With practice, Tai Chi comes to have its own ebb and flow, like the tide of the ocean. I believe I found this same aspect in my Tae Kwon Do much sooner with the influence of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Combination Element Three;
Strength and Balance

The physical demands of Tai Chi will strengthen any student regardless if this was an initial intention. When I hear people comment that Tai Chi looks as though it is not a workout, I know instantly they have never tried it. The postures require a great deal of strength to hold and move through. They also demand balance. I have found that you cannot attain one without the other. Balance requires strength of the muscles to hold your posture, compensate for instability in what lies under your feet, and be able to move through the transitions to the next posture. Strength requires balance to be able to have proper movement and stability. I have found that these two elements are inseparable in the practice of Tai Chi. This combination lesson has had great influence in my hard form. Strength and balance has improved all my stances, giving them more stability and a solid muscular foundation. That improved stability yields more power and intensity. With every step in one-steps, forms or sparring, I am physically aware of my balance in a muscular way. Each step or turn in a form now contains a choice of where my steps end. Tai Chi has given me strength and balance so that all steps are chosen and no longer simply fall where they may. Having educated my musculature to what proper balance and body alignment is in a kinesthetically, all my movements, regardless of what I am practicing, have much improved.

Tai Chi’s Elements Combined;

This has been the most challenging thing to learn in Tai Chi; softness. And, it will take years to truly wrap my mind around it much less master it. Its difficulty may possibly be because there are so many other lessons that need to find their place before the path is clear for this aspect to be internalized.

Initially in Tae Kwon Do, power and hardness accompanies all that you learn. As you progress through the ranks, the forms begin to require both slowness and speed, hardness and softness. Still, often times when you increase the speed, the hard power overshadows all else.

Through all of the elements of Tai Chi discussed here: Breath, Relaxation, Strength and Balance, the end result is Softness. Softness does not equal weakness, which is a misconception I have found that many people hold. Learning softness and translating it to my Tae Kwon Do helps with forms and sparring alike. Softness in my Tae Kwon Do forms has taught me regardless of the pace of a form; it still should have flow and constant motion without hard endings to each technique. With softness, the end of each technique becomes the beginning of the next.

I have found similar results in my sparring, along with fewer bruises. I feel that one goal of martial arts, regardless of which art you practice, should be to use your attacker’s force against him. If you meet force with force or power with equal power, the laws of physics manifest and you have an impact with the force or energy equivalent to both opposing forces. Softness allows you to redirect energy to where you may want it to be. If you give no hard power to your opponent, he has nothing from which to fight you. There is no fight if there is no one to fight with. So, with softness, I am learning to blend and redirect, not necessarily stop or end and attack.

In the words of Lao Tsu:

Yield and Overcome;Bend and be straight.


He who stands of tiptoe is not steady.He who strides cannot maintain the pace.

As a woman in the martial arts, this lesson is most meaningful to me psychologically. Since I lack the raw physical strength of the gender most likely to attack me, I must find another method with which to defend myself. I can be soft. I can also use my mind, the muscle Tai Chi exercises most exhaustively.

Instead of meeting force with force and using muscle, a fight I am simply not equipped to win, a small amount of yielding grants success. Being flexible allows for a straighter path. Resistance and force does not always succeed. Since my gender does not possess the greater physical strength in this world, seeing and learning a path that strengthens my softness is necessary for my success on a physical and personal level.

The strength found through relaxation and breath has done nothing but make my hard form more solid, stronger and given it a greater sense of control.

The improved breathing I have learned along with relaxation, strength and balance, all have helped me discover a path more quickly in my Tae Kwon Do that is both strong and soft at the same time. The equation of strength coupled with softness equals a different kind of power.

My hope is to continue my education in the martial arts knowing I have but only scratched the surface. As with any art, it is a way of life.
Abbreviated Bibliography
Sun, Wei Yue; New Style tai Chi Ch’uan : the official Chinese system./ Wei yue Sun, Xiao Jing Li. 1999.
Tsunetomo, Yamamoto. Hagakure. 1979 and 2002. Translation by William Scott Wilson. Kodansha International Ltd.

After Three Years....2nd!!

The combined black-belt test was this past Sunday the 20th. Three of my school's students were up for 1st degree black belts and I was testing for 2nd. Scarey!

Happily, our students did very well and all received their 1st dan black belts! I received my 2nd degree as well. We all have sore muscles and some bruising to show for it as well, but no blood-shed.

My Specialty was on Tai Chi and its influence on my Tae Kwon Do. Below is a post containing my paper. Many thanks are in order for all the people who helped me along the way. Rest assured there were many that encouraged, told me the truth, listened and gave great feed-back. Not to mention those people who instruct on a regular basis.

I am in debt to everyone.
Thank you!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Where does it come from and what is lacking when you don't have it?
There are all these verbal analogies for this materially intangible thing. Typically, these analogies are for one person to motivate another, not always to motivate one's self.

Build a fire under your butt.
Cattle-prod someone along.
A good kick in the ass.

So, really, what is motivation? Motivation can be defined as a concept used to describe the factors within an individual which arouse, maintain and channel behavior towards a goal.
This link goes on to describe motivation as "goal oriented behavior". But how can the same goal that normally motivates you or anyone, loose its motivating ability?

This is something I have struggled with recently and I am very curious about the whole feed-back loop that drives, satiates and turns off this behavior pattern.

What baffles me is how it can evaporate and how what normally you do willingly becomes a chore. What changed?
Food for thought....
If it motivates you!

It's Still Blue...

I have finally decided on a car, and actually acquired it. I bought a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX. I have had the hardest time deciding what to choose, so many choices. I like the car research part, but the actually going and talking to the sales people...not so fun. I had a good experience at Randall Noe Ford in Terrell. No pressure, relaxed and they really don't take themselves so seriously. That was evident by the half-finished paint job in the lobby area ( bright yellow) and the sales guys running around in shorts.

There were a couple things that my garage found when I took the car for its inspection, so she is at the dealer getting these minor things corrected. When I get her back, I'll post pictures.

I did manage to get pulled over within 24 hrs of actually getting the car. Fun. Here is the dialogue that transpired:

Rowlett Police Officer (RPO): ma'am I pulled you over because your left front head light is out.
Me: Oh....I will put that on the list for the dealer to fix when I return on Monday. I just picked the car up yesterday.

RPO: Yes, I saw your paper tags, you still have 20 days, so that means you got the car....
Me: Yesterday, sir.

RPO: Well, you can have this back (handing me my insurance card), I'll be right back (leaving with my oh so clean license.)

Me: Heavy sigh...

RPO: Well ma'am, I will just give you a verbal warning, but get it fixed immediately because you can get a citation for that regardless.

Me: Yes sir officer, I will get a bulb and fix it myself. Thank you.

RPO: (Taking a step backward, looking the car over...) ma'am, there's a lot of engine under that hood, did you know that when you bought it?
Me: Yes sir, I was aware of that. But it's OK because I have a brain.

RPO: (With suppressed grin) Well, I wasn't referring to that, I was thinking of commuting and, uh, gas and what not.

Me: Well, I have virtual no commute to work, so it's not a big deal.

RPO: Well, get the headlight fixed and have a good evening.

Me: Thank you very much sir.

So, the question I have is.....
Would he have asked a man if he knew how much engine was under the hood??

Maybe I just should have replied..."Why no officer, I just thought the color was oh so pretty..."

Word to the wise, behave in Rowlett.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tournament Day.

Today our martial arts organization had its annual tournament. It is always a small, ‘family’ tournament. So it is a good experience the whole way around for everyone. I and my fellow judges were responsible for judging the 9-11 year old division. They are all divided up into rank divisions.

I have never liked judging whether it be kata or kumite. I just feel as though I am not very good at it. It takes a quick eye and lots of attention when things get too fast. Also, it is really foreign to me. We don’t spar for points in our school, we more free spar until someone says stop. So, I don’t feel like I have the experience to judge the whole competition.

Even though judging is not my favorite thing, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t want to do it again anytime soon, but it wasn’t horrible. It was generally a good experience.

Fortunately, most parents take the tournament just as they should; fun with just an edge of competition. Thankfully.

Similarities in Strange Places

The only real difference in riding horses and practicing martial arts is the big horse that is in one of them. The balance, the rhythm, posture, balance, the ‘now-ness’—all of it is the same. With the horses, it is all about feel and knowing what it is when it is *right.* Martial Arts is the same; only the feel and knowing what it is to feel that place, the place where it all seems to go slowly and smoothly and yet it is all still happening at full speed. It is amazing how such different things can have such core foundation things be the same. But they are not so different:

Martial Arts
Equestrian Arts

Both an art.
Both require the same things to be successful and to progress.
Perseverance, training, excellent instruction and the willingness to endure pain.

A thought...Or Five

See Life
Touch Life
Smell Life
Feel Life
Live Life

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Autos, so many choices!

My loyal readership will know this already, I love Minis. but I don't know if I'm gonna get one. I am still in a fog of indecision on what car to buy...

It won't be new, has to be fairly affordable, a standard, reliable and interesting. It needs to be paid off by fall 2006--the whole nursing school thing. No bills in school!

So what to get?

Here's a short list:
Mini S
Classic Mustang

Lotus Elise...OK that one has to wait.....
But they are soooo cool!

Any other suggestions??

So, I see test drives in my future.
I will keep you posted!

Nursing School…..

Well, I applied and did not get in. This is such a load off!! Being recently on my own, I was somewhat concerned about how things would work out for my starting school full time in January.

But things happen for a reason.
Life has a way of putting you where you’re wanted.
So persuasive Life is…

The stats:
247 applicants.
100 Spots.
Lowest admitting GPA: 4.0
Dallas County Community College admits to its ADN nursing program based on numbers alone. So my having a degree in Molecular Biology, publications, and 11 years academic research along with managing a lab made no matter.

Just numbers.

This is really so much better. I believe this is how the powers that be are telling me to take a break. I will make great use of the time to get more of my ducks in a row.


As for my next application plans?
I will apply to Collin County and Brookhaven this fall. These are both closer and cheaper I just wasn’t able to apply this time around to them.

Wish me luck in the fall!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Difference in Learning and Teaching by Gender

I was paid a very meaningful complement by two of my Kobudo (Weapons Class) students. I hold a first degree black belt in Kobudo, Japanese Weapons, and I most often assist in teaching as do the other Shodans.

Two of my female students told me after class that they liked getting me as an instructor because they felt like my explanations and style sunk in more. They explained that as a woman, they felt like they got more information in a format they could understand. Obviously, I was touched beyond words.

But it is an important point, men and women learn so differently. Especially in something so "male" as martial arts. Usually the arts are associated with 'strong', 'tough' and 'power', adjectives that women often aren't very familiar with in a physical nature.

Yet, women still have an advantage in weapons training. Since we can't muscle the weapon, we have no choice but to use technique, finesse and correctness to get the job done. We must use the assets we have; strong muscles is not on the list.

It's OK if some things are 'off the list'.....

So, the arts as well as learning them or anything else, is so different between the genders. So interesting to see how our biology precludes our seeing and perceiving the world.

What is Meant to Be Will Come to Pass

These words have come to mean more and more to me as time goes on.

Simple Example: As I have already blogged, my friend's wedding was this past weekend. I was really stressed because the test I was supposed to have taken in my Anatomy class was postponed till today, Monday. Of course the Lecture exam was supposed to be this Wednesday, the 12th. Yikes!! Two major tests in one week folowing the wedding!! I was really stressing. Obviously NO studying was going on this weekend.
However, last week, the lecture exam got moved to this weekend.
So, I stressed for nothing.
Things work out like they are supposed to. Even if it doesn't seem possible for any resolution, or there seems to be so many obstacles in the way, I have come to have faith that the right path, the right choices will become evident. It might not always be easy or fun, but what will be, will be.
You just have to see where you want to be and go in that direction, regardless. If you are to be there, you will come to exist there. My whole life seems to have worked out in this fashion, regardless of my initial thoughts.

Where ever you go, there you are.

My New Camera!

I just bought a Canon DS 400. I love it! Of course it did not arrive in time for the Allsop Wedding but I'll get pics from someone else. It is a great camera! Watch for pics of my mom's 71st birthday...I took her horseback riding again.

The Wedding Finally Happened!!

One of my dearest friends finally got married- after a 7 year date-a-than. I admire those people who take their time, marriage is an enormous undertaking and commitment that is rivaled only by parenting.

The Wedding was outside at Swan Court. The order for perfect weather was fulfilled in spades and Mother Nature smiled on us the whole day.

The Friday itinerary?
  • Breakfast at Cindy's
  • On to the Hair salon (How many bobby pins does it take to do an updo of thick, all-one-length long hair??? 77)
  • Quick errand for the bride and another of the bridesmaids
  • On to the Mother of the Bride's house for makeup.
  • Another quick outing for the bride and me!
  • On to Swan Court to check out the decorations and finish dressing ourselves and the bride.
  • Calming the bride down and stemming tears before any real damage is done to the perfect makeup
  • Get you bouquet!!
  • Music!
  • Trying to smile, walk in grass without sinking my heels and get down the aisle without falling or rushing
  • Watch Christy walk over the bridge in the perfect Bridal march moment.

And of course, try not to sob as her husband-to-be cries as he reads his vows to her.

All so beautiful. Can't wait to see the pictures. Allison Arts Photography have done such a marvelous job! Go see the teaser pictures!! They are great to work with!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

More Martial Arts Thoughts- Some are High-jacked!!

Wherever you go, there you are.

Fight as though you are already dead.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Even if you think it is unbearable, you can bear up one more day.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

And one that I still haven't figured out:
Be like the outside of a tiger and the inside of a dog.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

I think something was Lost in Translation there.

Hey, a great movie.....

Lecture: Blood and a great instructor

Tonight in my Anatomy and Physiology class we covered blood. Something I had forgotten; blood is a connective tissue. That had totally slipped my mind. Blood also has a whole bunch of stuff in it: white blood cells, red blood cells, fibrinogen, globulins (antibodies), lots of water, ferrous iron (valence of 2+) and a pH of about 7.4. Your blood is what cleanses and feeds all your tissues in your whole body. Totally cool.

Having a competent, talented instructor is making this A&P class so very enjoyable. My instructor, Dr. Kelly Sexton, lectures from the premise of logic. This or that happens because of logical reasons. It makes it so much more interesting. It also lends a path for you brain to follow to categorize the information.

To get where you are going, regardless if it is in your education, or another venue, you have to know where you want to go. I try to have that idea when I teach martial arts. Even if the path you see or a student sees seems unattainable, you gotta just do it. (I DO remember what it was to be a white belt!)

Where there is a will there is a way. It got me this far, let's hope this attitude doesn't fail me now!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bachelorette Weekend

This past weekend was my roommate's Bachelorette party. She wanted to go to Shreveport and gamble, so that is what we did. We hit the Hollywood and Boomtown. There were 5 of us who went all total. We rented a van so we could all ride together and goof off and be silly!

Any road trip requires road-trip-munchies. Here was the tummy is still very, very angry with me.
  • C2 Coke
  • Gatorade
  • Water
  • Animal crackers with icing
  • Iced cupcakes
  • Double chocolate fudge chocolate chip cookies
  • Cheez-its
  • Two kinds of Cheesy-poofs
  • Asian cracker mix
  • Baby carrots
  • Low-fat wheat thins (I didn't get it either...)
  • Dove Dark Chocolate (Yours truly goes no where without them)

So, needless to say, junk food haven.

We did eat a meal when we got there, the buffet at the Casino...Nothing to write home or blog about. The slots were fun, none of us lost or gained a tremendous amount of $$.

The whole point was to get out of town and goof off for 24 hrs. We accomplished that in spades.

Oh, we did get two offers from different men to strip for us if we needed. Neither were attractive enough to warrant a request. Nice to get an offer though!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blog Chain Letter...?

OK, just do it and get it me a sucker.
I very dear friend sent this to me and because I couldn't think of 7 people to send it to (sad I know) I thought I'd just publish it. It is a nice poem and I had great respect for Mother Theresa. So here you go.

In case anyone is interested, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways. Meaning, she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love.
She is also the patron Saint of flower growers and florists. She is represented by roses. May everyone be blessed who receives this message. Theresa's Prayer cannot be deleted. REMEMBER to make a wish before you read the poem. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to seven people and let me know what happens on the fourth day. Sorry you have to forward the message, but try not to break this, please. Suggestion: copy and paste rather than forward to protect email addresses and access to e-virus. (you make a wish?) If you don't make a wish, it won't come true. Last chance to make a wish!
St. Theresa's Prayer: May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of you.
Now, send this to 7 people within the next 5 minutes and your wish will come true. And remember to send this back. I count as one. You'll see why.

I have no idea if anything will happen in 4 days, but what the heck?! I did make a wish and I'm not telling!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Butt Quarters

This is something I learned recently but refused to participate in:

Butt Quarters.
Yes, a drinking game.
Oh yeah...

The jist:
One places a quarter between one's gluteous maximuses and proceeds to circumnavigate the room and deposit said quarter into a cup....
No hands.
No kidding.
If you successfully do this, everyone else drinks.
If you fail, you drink.

Regardless, it is a primo observation experience.
Human Nature at its finest.

Martial Arts Thoughts:

  • You realize how much the arts have influenced you when you choose a mattress size based on whether your long weapons fit neatly at the bed-side.
  • The more I study empty hand, the less my hands are empty.
  • As you acquire more ability to do great harm, you seem to only search for the least harmful ways.
  • Kindness no longer also means weakness. It takes great strength to give kindness.
  • You keep extra weapons in areas of the house that are most applicable to the particular space on question.
  • You watch martial arts movies and think, " That is a great technique, I gotta try that!"
  • You can only answer a question on kata by physical illustration.
  • And finally: All those Japanese sayings begin to really make sense to you....

Food For Thought

I wanted to relate something I overheard while shopping the other day.

I must confess, I shop the Salvation Army Store regularly. I find fantastic deals there and the people watching is great. Sometimes the people listening can be very inspirational.

I was there last Friday and overheard a very nice African American woman speaking with another woman who was Caucasian. Normally I couldn't care less about race, ethnicity or anything for that matter, it's about the person inside not the skin they wear on the outside. But this happens to be pertinent to the story.

The African American woman was very well dressed, well spoken and just very nice. The Caucasian woman was just the opposite; she had the look of a difficult life, very poorly dressed and generally sad. These two ladies were discussing the New Orleans tragedy and apparently the Caucasian woman was someone who had escaped the devastation but some friends of hers had not.

The more affluent woman stood and listened intently to the less fortunate woman and did nothing but give her reassurance and kindness and even a hug at the end of the conversation. I was so touched. I was suddenly very happy to be of the human race.

But the statement that truly hit me was what the less fortunate woman said to the the other woman as they parted ways:

"Thanks for listening to me and being so nice to me. You have no idea what it meant to me for someone to be so nice."

The response?
"But isn't that what we all should do for one another? It was my pleasure."

Race is irrelevent if we first remember to be human.
People can be worth you time.
Being nice is free, only if we choose to give it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Here and Now

My second degree black belt test is coming up in November. (That is just way too fast!)

Tai Chi is what I have chosen to do as my specialty for my second degree. I have been learning this art for almost three years now and I still suck at it. But it is a way of life.

One of the things I am going to attempt to discuss with some level of aplomb is how Tai Chi has taught me to slow down. Not just physically, although that definitely has benefits, but more so mentally.

Tai Chi is so darn complicated that there comes a point where you realize you are doing nothing but breathing and trying to move correctly. Your body also learns to crave that type of all-engaging moving meditation. It is as if we humans were really created for Tai Chi.

I find that my mind can actually succeed at doing nothing but the here and now...This one moment in time. I can actually find moments when I am not thinking of what I did a half a second ago and I am unconcerned with what to do next.
I just have to do this right now.
Just this.
What ever 'this' is at the moment.

It is such a relief to be able to do that, find the off button for my brain.

So it is the discipline of the core that has been most educational.

I love it...

Bad Santa

I just finished watching Bad Santa, an amazingly "wrong" movie that is hysterical!!

First of all, I really dislike the holidays. So I sort of identified with the Santa in the movie, although I am not that decrepit and don't have any issues with alcoholism.

The movie is this dark comedy that just keeps surprising you at every turn. And Santa is Oh So Bad. Not for the kiddies at all!

This would be even better really intoxicated, but stone sober was plenty entertaining.

But it is not for the meek at heart. It is raunchy and WRONG!

But go watch it anyway!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Perspectives on Motorcycles

This is my friend's post on her new-found adoration of motorcycles...

It is good entertainment. Her link is also on my side-bar.
Whose Reality Is This?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hair Raising Experience

I took the dogs walking tonight. There is a park close to the house, so I often walk over there with my roommates' dogs, Sydney, an Australian Shepard, and Max, a very oversized border collie.

It was a lovely evening to walk. On our second lap around the park, I saw two men get out of their car and begin walking onto the park grounds, just in the path of where I was to walk.

I found myself running the mental check of 'Where can I go?' 'What can I do if I need to defend myself?' 'What weapons do I have?' (Hair stick--check!)

fortunately, my hackles were raised for no reason; I had logically thought there would be no reason in the first place.

But being a woman, two large dogs or not, I still ran the mental check. It's innate. You run that mental check several times a day. Even in broad day-light, you wonder if you are safe enough; you wonder if the men walking toward you wish harm on you.

It is the female brain. I think this is one thing men cannot quite wrap their minds around. Men, most likely, seldom need to be concerned with who is going to attack them. Women consider this constantly, the thought is always there.

I am very happy that these days I find my martial arts influencing which way my brain plans and assesses situations. I find that the situations are assessed on tactics more so than fear. Don't worry, there is still a healthy dose of fear, but the mental attitude, the way I come at things, is really, really different now.

I'm glad.
Self Defense starts in the mind.
Don't walk out of the door and leave it open without knowing what's on the other side.

Dave Mathews Band

A friend invited me to the Dave Mathews Band concert being held at the Smirnoff Music Center at Fair Park.

I happily accepted. Although I would not say I am a huge fan of DMB, I do like his music and I think the band itself is amazing.

well, I am a fan now! It was a great concert!! Being a member of the DMB Fan Club, the seats she had were amazing!! About 12 rows back and almost center stage.

It has been a really long time since I have went to a concert. I had forgotten that one attends a concert to "feel" the music more so than "hear" the music. It is great the way sound travels in waves and those waves are wonderful reverberating off you skeleton.

Granted, the hair cells in my ears are a little more worn, but it was worth it!!

I gotta hand it to the DMB. There was an amazing cross-section of society there. Young, old, parents with their kids, the young and obnoxious....Everyone was there. The people watching was supreme.

Get out there and go hear/feel music!! It is wonderful. I will certainly be trying to put that on my list! Anyone up for blues??

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Engineering at its Finest

I started my Anatomy and Physiology II class this week. I am taking it at North Lake college. It is going to be a great semester!! I have a great instructor, the lab is well equipped with, ohmygoodness, current and complete models!! Not like last semester!!

In lecture tonight we discussed the heart, it's anatomy, circulation and the layers protecting it. I had forgotten how amazing our bodies are!! Such a marvelous feat of engineering! The way the valves work by changes in pressure driven by sheer physics alone, their chordea tendineae helping hold the atrioventricular valves steady, the organization of blood flow, the whole "structure defines function" in its true form.

I love developmental biology too, and the heart's development is so cool. Am I sounding like a nerd yet?? It starts as two tubes and grows together, twisting around to form the great arteries at last. Wow.

People take their bodies for granted, when, in fact, each person possess one of the most amazing examples of engineering the world will ever know.

Look after that engineering and it will serve you well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Physiological Response...

I went to my doctor today in order to complete one of my many requirements to apply to nursing school: a physical and vaccination record.

The general physical was fine, I have had my annual one recently, so all was well on that front. However, I have no paper record of my childhood immunizations nor do I have the paperwork for the Hepatitis B inoculations I received when I worked at the Amelia Court HIV research clinic. I also need proof of tetanus.

So, just to cover my posterior, he gave me all the childhood inoculations again (subcutaneous) and the tetanus (intramuscular). The Hep B, I will hunt for the paperwork, otherwise, we just pull blood and do an antibody titer .
I have never had a vasovagal response before. Today was my first. I must admit, I loathe and detest shots. I can give blood whenever, doesn't bother me. But shots....I HATE them. I feel so violated.

Well, I survived the dreaded shots, but will avoid them at all costs. If I gotta go back on Friday and give blood for a titer, no worries. For some reason, taking something out of my vein is fine, forcing something into my deltoid is not!

Monday, August 22, 2005

When the Child Becomes the Parent

It is becoming painfully obvious to me that my mom is mentally declining. Things are starting to not add up. She can't remember what she tells people. And it's important stuff like when we went to buy a car for her recently, and she said she couldn't remember if she had given the sales man her social security number and other pertinent information....Not good.

How do you discuss with your parent that you fear for her safety driving when that is the only means of independence she still possesses?

Or, that you are worried that she is no longer capable of dealing with the rest of the world safely? I may have power of attorney, but that doesn't change the fact that she is still very independent.
It's a real rock and a hard place. I really thought I wouldn't have kids, I guess this is fate's way of making me live that experience anyway.
She is really healthy otherwise. At 70, almost 71, she is great otherwise. It's just that the tables are turned and it really is a challenge to stay clam and not get frustrated. She can't help it.

Good air in...Bad air out.

It is really painful to watch such decline in someone you care for so deeply. It is so painful to watch when someone you love begins to fall apart.

How is it that the parent goes away only to be replaced by someone so uninformed?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Nose Knows

This is a really interesting article about dog noses and the ability of detection their noses have. I have watched PBS programs about dogs detecting heart attacks and cancer. Their noses are truly amazing organs. I think it would be great to have a dog nose for just one day. One day is probably all I could handle.

So, with a nose that sensitive, why do they always want to roll in the foulest of foul things??
And they are so HAPPY about their aroma after the roll-on-the-dead-thing dance.

Auto buying

I assisted my mom in purchasing a different car this past Thursday. She settled on a 2005 Corolla. Her Saturn was not comfortable for her back anymore and she did not see well out of the car.
So, why does buying a car take so long? We were there for hours. You would think with the age of wireless that the application and credit check would be fairly quick. But still it takes hours. She is thrilled with her new car and I am thrilled she feels more comfortable driving.

I am comfortable with her driving as long as I am not in the car with her!!
Is this what always happens with parents as they age?
Parents are uncomfortable with their teens learning to drive and grown kids are not comfortable with their parents' driving.
Is turn about fair play?
Just a thought.

My Head Hurts.....

I have never suffered from headaches on a regular basis. Aside from the sinus headache I get in cottonwood season, I don't get headaches.
Well, the one I had this weekend made up for all those missed headaches.
I guess it was a migraine. I have not had one before, but this fit the description to a tee. Blinding pain, severe nausea, trouble seeing, and a desire to attain the fetal position in a quiet dark room...And never leave. I have since read about some remedies for such debilitating headaches. Most seem to prescribe Magnesium, Riboflavin and Feverfew. If I get one again, I will do anything to get rid of it. I have a friend who suffers from recurrent migraines and I sympathize. Wow, those are awful! I wish you luck on finding a remedy that works! My research suggests several therapies.


My, my they have a name for everything!!
I had one of my bi-annual checkups just a week ago. And I must confess to having some level of dentaphobia--yes a fear of dentists.
Even though my dentist is great and so considerate, I still don't want to go. It's like, well, pulling teeth if you will forgive the pun.
I spent so much time in the dental chair as a child, I hate going. Consequently, I will do anything to make those twice-a-year visits go more smoothly.
What did I get busted for this visit??
Chewing ice.
Yes, I got beat with the "Don't eat Ice" stick this visit.
Otherwise, I have a clean bill of health where my teeth are concerned.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Commuting via Bike

Since I have recently changed jobs, I now am close enough to bike to and from work. I commuted via bike in college and loved it. Since I am not a morning person by any stretch, that 7:30AM English class (eeewww!) was made easier by my having spent 30 minutes on a bike...I was awake!!

My new job requires that I be there all chipper by 8. Yes, to the regular world, this is boring. But this is really difficult for those of us who spring to life with boundless energy at 10:30 PM. 8AM is torture....
So, I believe a 20 minute bike ride will a)make me be awake and b) help combat that whole sitting still thing that I am still not used to.

Currently I am borrowing my friend's mountain bike. I think I have to have a hybrid. Once I am comfortable riding that for a while, I may switch to a road bike. Speed is so cool. I will keep you posted.

Since I am a bike nincompoop, any help or suggestions on bike shopping and how NOT to spend a bloody fortune would be appreciated!!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

An Apology

So, I must apologize for my lack of blogging action. My online math class has come to its end and I have been really studying to ensure the A I require. So here I am, back to Always Ask the Question(s)…..

De-Evolving the Gene Pool

So, here’s a thought.
If our society has removed many of the selection pressures of natural selection, are we doing our gene pool a disservice??
Are we participating in the down fall of our own species?

Without selection pressures, how is our gene pool to improve?

We often joke about the fact that those plastic bags that come with new appliances have the text printed on them that says, “This is not a toy. Do not give to small children.”
That is there because we presume that someone did just that at one point with horrible results.

We do still have the Darwin Awards.
Examples of how natural selection is still functioning.

But with all the safe-guards in our society, how is one to a) learn about the natural world considering a great deal of that learning takes place through trial (hey this might work…) and error (pain) and b) never getting to think about something on your own, evaluate its possible consequences and learn…i.e. deductive reasoning?

Just a thought.
In the words of Jeff Foxworthy, “Let the pain of learning begin!”

Things I wish I wouldn’t see people doing while driving:

Talking on the phone AND eating.
Brushing one’s teeth.
Applying makeup.

Pets or no Pets??

I am someone who adores animals. I have taken them in off the street, rehabilitated abused ones, and raised orphaned wild animals. You name it, I have probably done it provided it pertains to the health and well being of some cute little critter. And even some really large ugly ones too.

However, I have reached a point where I no longer wish to have any more pets than I currently have. I simply am too tired. And when they go, there will be no more. Animals, like children, require a tremendous amount of attention, time and maintenance. Yes, the pay-back is totally worth it. Life is really great when they snuggle you when you are down, play with you on a walk or just sit with you and purr. Not to mention the entertainment factor. However, I don’t want anymore. I can foresee another day when I will want them again, but not now and not for some great while.

I think I will take the same attitude with pets as I have currently with children:
Borrow and return, borrow and return.

The Cost of Education

I just finished paying for the next class I need to progress toward my nursing degree. It was a four hour course and the tuition alone was $240. That does not include books.

So, this begs the question:
Why is attaining something so fundamental to the betterment of society as a whole so d@@!!@mn expensive?

Many other countries have virtually free education, and it is not poor quality either. France, for instance covers everything, books, tuition, room and board and the cost is a mere few hundred dollars a semester. And it is a top-notch education too.

Thailand is another example of virtually free education. And a quality one to boot.

So why is it, that in the US, one of the building blocks of our nation has become almost out of reach for those of us not born to wealth? For one to take out a quantity of school loans that would set him or her back 10 years to pay them off is absurd.

What is a solution to this?? There needs to be a way to gain an education and yet not be in debt for the rest of your life.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Gifts in life

There are only a few things in this world that are true gifts:

Health- For it cannot be bought.
Fortitude- This enables you to see that all failures are only another opportunity to learn.
Happiness- A gift you can only give to yourself.
Love- If you find it, treasure it, protect it, nurture it and the person you share it with.
Faith- It sustains you when all else is absent.
Truth- Mainly with yourself. This is the most difficult place to apply it.
Friendship- A gift beyond words, they keep you grounded, laugh, cry and play with you without judgment. Always return the gift.

When the inanimate teaches

Well, my math class is in its final stretch. Only 3 more weeks and 3 more tests. So what has the re-taking of College Algebra taught me?

I had forgotten a great deal of stuff!
It does come back to you.
My greatest problem with math is that I go too fast.
I must S-L-O-W D-O-W-N.

Once I commanded myself to go slowly and then basically re-take the test via proofing, all was well. Although I really like math, I do not have talent for math. I wish I did, I would be studying quantum physics or some other crazy thing like that!!

So the greatest lesson: patience.
This seems to be a lesson I need to really learn. The whole rest of my life seems to be driving this lesson home.

I have always thought of myself as a patient person. However, I think I have come to realize that this patience I only gave to others, never to myself. I'm sure a few of you can relate. I deserve the same things I give to others so I have learned to be more patient with me.

At least I get to chalk up another A if all continues on the same path!!

Unexpected Bunkai

I have recently discovered other uses for Tae Kwon Do in addition to self defense and personal fitness. The martial arts in general keep you healthy both mentally and physically. So, what other uses, do they have??

For stubborn shelves, a swift, sharp front kick, upwards, will dislodge the shelving.
For well installed base boards, heel stomps are very efficient in either breaking the offending board or dislodging it.
Any vertical supports can be felled by strong, accurate inside crescent kicks.
Or, vertical obstacles that you can get to the side of can be removed with a very effective side kick.

Word to the wise (wild?), be certain your techniques are accurate in their delivery or you can end up with some nasty back-lash. At any rate, home improvement is yet another venue for one to practice the arts.
Happy Training!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter Zeal!!

Yes, I have officially lost my mind.

A friend and I signed up to obtain the newest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So, Friday night, at 11PM we went to Borders Bookstore to stand in line and get our book for half price.
Our numbers were 360 and 361 so we were in for a wait. However, the people were fabulous. It was so great to see some many different types of people and all different ages. Some were dressed up, some were reading other Potter books, some were just trying to stay awake! I fell into the later category. My friend and I passed the time by reading 30 second mysteries to each other.
The greatest thing was all the kids and how excited they were about a book...About all the Potter books.
How great to be so excited about reading!
Yes, I have read them all myself save the last one. Gotta finish this math class first!
And to see the parents out there with their kids being so supportive at such a late hour...It was great!

So we finally got our books at 1:40AM. We went home and fell into bed.

I am glad we went and it was really fun!

And They're Off!!

I had a work birthday outing this past Friday to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. I invited another horsey friend along to enjoy the fun.

As she is a quicker blogger than I, she has already blogged about it. But I'll add my two cents in as well!!
Absolutely the weather played havoc with our arrival and my leaving my hat in the car was a true travesty. I have to wear it to work this Monday to show everyone which hat is was!! I do have quite the collection.

Once we were fed and watered appropriately, it was time to assess the gorgeous thoroughbreds and place bets accordingly. For me, in order to do this, I have to go and see, smell and examine the horses. Their grooms walk them past naked at first, then, in the appropriately numbered tacking stalls, they are tacked up for everyone to see. This is the best time to assess each horses mental state. If they are already too worked up, it's no good. I always look for alert, quite and attentive. I like to see the grooms gently fawning on them. I also assess stride over reach (how far ahead of the front hoof print the hind hoof print falls; the bigger the distance the better). Lastly, I assess overall conformation (hip and shoulder angles) and any discernible gait imbalances.

Then, I bet based on the horses attributes and barn, jockey and trainer records.

I love it!! The track is to die for fun!! Nothing quite like a horse race. Especially when one comes from behind to challenge the leader in the last couple furlongs.... Whew!!

And the people watching/listening is premier!
When I left I was ahead almost double my money....I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sparring with Props

Tonight in class, some of us sparred with a pretend weapon. One of us had a padded stick, essentially a stick with a long square piece of foam covered in nylon.
It was interesting how it changed the sparring.

First of all it was incredibly fun!! And, very difficult!
Because you were concerned about being bonked with the foam attack weapon, your attention was divided and thus, you were more relaxed. Of course, the attack of the giggles was as deadly as the padded weapon!! But you relaxed, so you got to practise moving and sparring and being more easy going.

Then, you learned that you don't watch the weapon or you get smacked with those other weapons your opponent wields so well...Tae Kwon Do techniques!!
So, a big picture view became more prevalent. And...the best can take the weapon away and use it yourself!!
Really, it was great fun, but very instructional.
This would be a great method to work out relationship issues, big foam padded sticks. Once you got over the physical angst, the laughter would breakdown the barriers for sure!

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Therapy of Writing

I have been a journal keeping person for as long as I can remember. Before I knew how to write, I kept sketch books of my favorite animals involved in a variety of scenarios. Drawing was a passion too. I came across this interesting article regarding Writing therapy. I have always know that writing in its varying forms was very therapeutic, it is what helped me survive my childhood, but I am always excited to read about science backing up my personal experience. I also have not always been very good at communication. Some would say I am still abysmal in this department. But writing offers the opportunity to take those thoughts and words and tether them to the page, make them be still and look at them; examine them.

Then, you can throw them away, keep them, burn them, do what you want. Because now it is your choice. I think for me, writing about things always gave me a level of control over my thoughts. Very grounding.

Monday, July 04, 2005

(Wimpy) War of the Worlds

I went to see War of the Worlds this weekend. I was unimpressed. Granted I am not a Tom Cruise fan, but on occasion he has surprised me. I really thought the movie really fell short of its potential. Special effects were so so, and the tripods were very 'Alien-ish' to me. The foreshadowing at the beginning of the movie was a bit thick I thought. Generally, I wished I had waited for it to be on television. Go see it if you must, but I'd wait to see it for free or at least for cheap.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Foot Issues.

I went with friends today and had some girl fun. Among the girl-ness was a pedicure. I have had the same pedicurist for several years now, but today I went to someone different. This new person was considerate, caring, and very good at her job. But it wasn't Christy, my normal pedicurist. And I have foot issues. I don't like people I don't know touching my feet. Yes, add this to the list of my wierdnesses. It just makes me uncomfortable. So instead of relaxing and enjoying my pedicure, I sat there and practiced Tai Chi breathing until it was over. Needless to say, it was an excellent pedicure as far as quality, but not enjoyable. My toes look great and all the calluses are gone, but I won't venture away from Christy again. Sadly, I have the same "stranger danger" about massages too. This is very upsetting. Everyone speaks of how wonderful massages are. The two I've had, I have tried, were awful. An hour of repressing the urge to bolt for the door; not relaxing! I guess massages will only get to come from people I know as well. Fortunately, one of my very close friends is a certified masseuse. So maybe I'll let her try!

One foot in front of the other....

I have recently began running. I am quite certain I have lost my mind. I have a 2nd degree black belt test coming up and I need to make sure the cardiovascular system is working well. I have found that when stressed, if I run, the distaste of running overpowers the thoughts of whatever is causing me stress.
I hate to run.
Did I mention I hate running?
Regardless of my personal position on running, it has been serving a good purpose. I am tired enough to sleep at night. I sweat really profusely, thus feeling as though I have had a good work out. This equals personal satisfaction. I get so consumed with putting one foot in front of the other that my brain does cease to be so busy. Tai Chi does this too, but that's another blog...

Running definitely takes the edge off. So, even though I really don't like doing it, it is getting easier. It is easier to keep running for one more block.
So far, the knees are holding up.

I'll let you know how the running progresses. I am not sure how long I will keep at it....
Did I mention I do not like to run?

A friend told me this about running and I like it:

Only run when pursued.

Sage advice.

But don't you have to be somewhat adept at running in order for the whole fleeing principle to have any possible efficacy??
Just a question.....

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New Additions

I added some additions to my beloved fish tank this week. I have a simple 29 gallon fresh water tank that houses my very colorful gold fish. I know, gold fish are not all that exciting to some, but I am endlessly entertained by their antics.

This week I added more plants, as the gold fish eat almost anything in their tank, another rock cluster and a little friend to help out with the algae. I have a Rubber lip Plecostomus! I have wanted one for a while now. This one will grow to only 5 inches as opposed to the bristlenosed plecos that get really big and grow frighteningly fast.

He (or she??) is about 1.5 inches long and is gray with iridescent tiny white dots all over! So cute! And FAST. My goldies dwarf him and so he can be found scooting along the glass in an effort to avoid contact with my other four babies. One issue I have already noticed; the gold fish, being gluttonous pigs, LOVE the algae wafers that are supposed to be for my pleco. So I have to time feeding so that the goldies are at the top and the wafer can actually get to the bottom of the tank.

It is so much fun to sit and watch all the behavior. The goldies investigating the pleco as the swim past. The pleco scooting this way and that in a vain effort to stay out of the way. I'm sure everyone will settle down soon. Until then, I have much entertainment!! Only as long as I stay up....The pleco is nocturnal. Finding him in the day is, well, the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Monday, June 27, 2005

You think you have a plan....

Just a thought. Do you ever think that life waits until you think you have this plan, this idea of where you are headed, and what you want to do and then Life jumps in and says,

"A-hah!!! Plan, shmam, what the H E double-hockey-sticks where you thinking??? You don't know what you're doing. Here, have this monkey wrench along with this banana peel and oh, yeah some foam stuffing and now try to make your life work. "

Am I the only one who has this feeling?
Please, someone tell me it's not just me....


For those of you who know me, this will be no surprise. I'm OCD...Yes I have tendencies toward Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have found ways to help control these tendencies. For example, if I find something I think I really, really want, I make myself wait a predetermined time before I actually purchase it or obtain it. If, at the end of the wait period, I still salivate when I am in proximity to said item, then I relinquish my self control and buy the item or make arrangements to buy it.

So, with this in mind, I have continuously fantasized about the Mini Cooper. I am a car freak from way back, my obsession starting with my first car, a '66 Ford Mustang coup. I loved that car. My sister and I tore it down to its block and my father ( a mechanic by living) helped me rebuild it. I love cars. My parents gave it to me, not running with two thrown freeze plugs and in desperate need of a total over-haul. She got it in spades. When we were done, she did 90 in 2nd gear and laid rubber to third. It is amazing I am still alive. No 16 year old should have a 289HP stock V-8 engine to play with. Well, except me of course.

I will take my horse power any way I can get it.

So, back to my Mini obsession. I want one. I have wanted one since they first came out. I must own one. The obsession is not subsiding. I have found when obsessions don't subside, you have to satisfy them. They evolve into their own existence and then you just simply aren't in the driver's seat so to speak.

I'm thinking a 2003, Mini S ( one MUST have the S) Blue, the dark Blue, with a white top and sunroof. I just love that 6-speed manual transmission! 163 HP is what the super-charged S version can dish out. I realize the convertibles are all kinds of sexy. However, the convertible will have to wait until it can be a convertible Boxster.....A whole other obsession....

So, before too much longer, I think I have to have one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On Our Own

Tonight in my martial arts class, both our head instructors were absent. That left myself and my fellow 1st degree black belt, Mr Preece, to lead class.

Mr. Preece has done this once before. This was my first time to be without both our head instructors. I guess it went OK. At the water break after warm-ups, he and I quickly discussed who would take what group of students and how we could work it out.

Fortunately we have several fantastic brown belts to help with teaching and organizing the class. So we were lucky. Class was over before I knew it! And I wasn't quite finished yet...

I think back to when I started and there was only Mr T. Mr. Davis had just had back surgery and was out almost the entire first year I was there. What a load to be the only teacher!

I hope I can always help. I know Mr. Preece and I really appreciated the wonderful help of our other students.

A New Kind of Dating

I have a very close friend who has become very involved with someone online. She met him through an online sports organization she is very active in. She has friends whom she used to live close to and hang out with that are a part of this organization. So, they have mutual friends who know the two of them. Thus, they got to chatting in the discussion rooms and things moved on and on...

With the mutual friends involved, they both know the other is truthful in their discussions. They are now madly in love and will be meeting soon for the very first time in person. We are all excited for them.

This brings an interesting point that my friend and I have discussed at length. We have compared and contrasted the traditional meeting of prospective dates and the now more "cyber" meetings that are becoming more and more common.

It is interesting. In my friend's situation, they know they are both being honest because of mutual friends. So we limit our discussion to this type of meeting. I know there are zillions of people out there who are not honest on line.

On one hand, you are open and honest with less chance of being misunderstood or having your body language be deleterious to your being understood. You can assess whether you and the person you are talking with are on the same page. You can let the discussion ramble as it wishes. Email or chat also allows something else; the ability to ponder things and respond later. There is no one to force you into answering when you aren't ready, you just email back later.

You also wait. You get to know each other on a different level, in a different way. The biology behind physically meeting and interacting with someone is removed. And for anyone having met someone they are overwhelmingly attracted to, you know how distracting and overpowering that biology is. So your head is clearer. If there is a real attraction even on line, the head doesn't stay clear for long!

For people who are honest and open and interested in discovering another person, on line "meeting" can be a good thing I think.

Granted, there still has to be chemistry when you do finally meet, but even if there isn't, you have cultivated a valuable relationship and learned a great deal. Not just learned about another person, but about yourself as well. In the words of another friend, you have to like how they smell....
So very true.

I am really hoping and wishing my friend's meeting goes well, I feel very confident it will. Only 2.75 weeks to go!! Hang in there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Repression that is America

Wow...Look what I ran across on the BBC web site regarding sex!

Do you think you would ever find this anywhere in the Dallas Morning News??? I am glad that there are nations out there that can discuss and educate so openly. Educate, educate, educate!!! Especially about sex. Sex is natural and should not be shrouded in our puritanical, "anything that feels good is bad" repressed attitude. If you educate, then there are no secrets, less disease, less mistakes. I went to high school with girls who thought if you had sex while standing that you wouldn't get pregnant!! Unbelievable..I'm not THAT old. Kudos to the BBC.

The hint on positions isn't bad either!!
Happy reading!

Gender selection

I have always been interested in the biological differences that are hard-wired in men and women. This interesting BBC article, discusses briefly how the gender choice of offspring is environmentally influenced. It appears that in different species different factors influence whether the offspring will be male or female. It seems our biology is way ahead of us. We are more in-tune with what goes on around us than we realize. Even our bodies realize it, we seem to have tuned that information out. Too bad. I simply think it is so interesting what stimuli are integrated into our functioning and we don't even know it--we don't even acknowledge it. Amazing.
The world is a cool place. The organisms that are 'us' are so fantastic. Take care of that organism!!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The First Day of School

I had an interesting turn of events today. I helped take my mom to her first college class. At 70, I thoroughly believe it is never too late. She has always been a talented artist both in oils and general drawing. Not to mention her music! She used to paint quite a lot years ago but hasn't done so in many years. About 4 weeks ago she asked if there was any way to sign up for an art class. So I did; through the continuing education at Richland college. Today was her first day.

I had temporarily forgotten how difficult it is to navigate a college campus. I completed my first 56 hours at Richland and thus am familiar with the campus. Yet now I had to find a way for her to find the campus, park, find her building, find her classroom and then be able to find her car again and leave. It really is a great deal of doing!

Although quite spry, she is still 70 and can be overwhelmed with such a big place and so many directions. I think she'll do fine though. I took her to the classroom, introduced her to the prof and wished her well and hugged her bye. As I left, I thought, is this how it is when you drop your kids off at kindergarten? The same mix of both apprehension for them and a sense of excitement because you know of all the possibilities that can be?

Education, school in general, always held this great allure for me. I could easily be a "career student" as they say. As we entered the building, I thought, she is going to have so much fun! College just holds so many opportunities.

It was just such a turn of the tables, I was taken off-guard a bit. So I learned a few things this morning. One, the things we learn to do and think, "Oh, that's easy" can be mountainous vistas for others. Two, it's never too late to start. It's all about attitude and having some courage. It took quite a lot of courage for her to go and be there with all those 'young whippersnappers!'

My advice? Do as my mom, and just go for it!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Return from DSL-less land

I have returned! I had not realized how intertwined my existence had become with my internet connection. This past week, it has been down. I have been isolated from the cyber world.
And it sucked.

I had emotional responses to the situation. I felt isolated and ostracized. Craziness.

Man, did I hate not being able to look things up on a whim. Are we really this connected? Are we really so accustomed to being able to have all this information at our fingertips at any given moment?
My answer is yes! It was crazy, I realized I didn't even know where the phone books were. I just google for the phone number. Oh, and if I had some obscure question ( I know my having a question floors some of you...), I would just look it up. I wanted to find a title to a particular book and put it on my Amazon wish list....Couldn't....

I must admit, I was really surprised at how much I had grown to depend on the use of the internet. Not to mention how accustomed, I never gave it a second thought as to how much I really use it.
It was a little revealing. Frightening too. I am a geek.
At least I can make that online Victoria's Secret purchase now!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Technology: More or less?

After struggling with a virus at work, not being able to open my excel file that has MOUNTAINS of my data in it, fumbling with the new phone system at work and generally trying to get different software packages to work together (they don't always play well with others!), I thought, does technology add to or take away from our lives?

It begs the question; technology was supposed to improve our lives, has it?

It's advances were supposed to give us more time, help lower our stress, organize us and help stream-line or work.

One of the things I see occurring is that we are more pressed for time and have less true unavailability. We all have a cell phone with us. Pagers. Blackberry.

We are becoming so 'available' because of the electronic leash. Or leashes as the case may be.

I think we are supposed to be "out of pocket" as my grandmother always says. I think our technology has outstripped our humanity. I don't think that is a good think either.

As a good friend of mine has recently been reminding me....


That is what we all need. We need to tip the scales back the other way.

Thanks for the reminder.

Monday, May 30, 2005


This is a question I have been pondering.
If simplicity is so simple, why is it so difficult to attain?
You hear a great deal about "simplify your life" or "simplify your work environment."
What is it about needing all that "stuff" and conflict and complications that it usually brings that is inherent in the human psyche? Where do we learn this need for stuff? Society? Family? Cosmopolitan magazine? What is all this stuff supposed to do for us other than complicate our lives? How does it creep up on us the way it does?

I am one of those people who hates clutter and loathes disorganization. I am the type that keeps the garbage bag in the closet to throw items into to expedite their transition from my space to the Salvation Army.
Amazingly, there is always stuff to go into that bag. Wow. Where does it all come from? Was it para-matter that has changed back into stuff of this dimension?
Truly amazing. Any ideas??

It's not my fault!

Apparently, now we are even falling to the dire levels of blaming our bacteria for our larger waist lines. It is simple equation: (Calories in)<(Calories out)
But no, we are blaming our little symbiotic buggies....and they can't even defend themselves!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Completely different and yet the same

I started a new job last week. I have been in the academic scientific research field for 11 years. I have a degree in molecular biology and experience in tissue culture, HIV virology, protein chemistry and cellular immunology. All of it very, very cool. In science there is a distinct methodology. You have a question, you research what is known about said question, decide from that background why you think it does what it does and then design experiments to extricate information that will illustrate which way you need to go next. The most important part is the question and an open mind. Oh, and the details. Make sure the data is telling you what you have perceived.

My new job is, in the words of Monty Python; "Now for something completely different."

My company is an economic and demographic research corporation. We research whether cities and businesses can both benefit if specific types of businesses move into specific city areas.

Lots of detail.
Very specific questions.
And an open mind must be had by all to 'hear' what the data is truly telling you.

Hhmmm. Sounds very familiar. In fact, the methodologies are the same. The level of detail is the same. It's great. I am such a nerd..Or is it geek??? I can never keep those straight.

Anyway, It's cool and different and yet the same. The up side is if I need to go I can hit "SAVE" and go; I can work from home on occasion.

The down side: I miss the way-cool really expensive toys. $135K microscopes are way cool. Watching cells differentiate into neurons because you inserted a different gene is way cool.

Oh...The real up side???
It's 13 minutes from home.
And the people are great.

Into the Wild

I attended a beginner's backpacking class at REI tonight. I have car camped and been SCUBA diving, trail riding (horseback of course) and this is the next logical step to get the @@!!@ away from the city and most people. I am very excited about the backpacking and can't wait to go!

The class was 1.5 hours long and very informative. You can find other classes listed if you are interested. A veteran backpacker taught the class and gave handouts along with some fun anecdotes about her backpacking experiences.

The talk covered:
Packs- internal vs external
Sleeping bags and the temp ratings
Sleeping mats and their necessity!
Pots and cups- how many and if you really need the cup
utensils- knife and "spork"
Stove- SIMPLE!!
Tents- What it should do for you and how much you should expect it to weigh
Shoes- C-O-M-F-O-R-T-A-B-L-E with tried!
Water and how much per person per day
No-trace philosophy
Animal encounters- keep your head and you will keep your blood
Types of poisonous plants- VERY useful info even in the city parks!

There was an open forum for questions. I highly recommend it at the $15 price tag. I also appreciated the fact that there was not any pressure to go buy everything. Our instructor, Lori, highly recommended trying stuff out before you buy. Rent it, try it on in the store and walk around forever....That sort of thing. And the real take-home message:

Less is More. So very true.

So get out there and camp, hike and be wild. Enjoy the art that Mother Nature has created for us.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Day at the Faire

Scarborough Faire

A friend and I went to Scarborough Faire this Saturday. It is a renaissance festival held in Waxahachie, Texas every year during the months of April and May. The weather was perfect, being a fine blue sky with just a hint of puffy white clouds that lumbered through the sky. A little more breeze would have made it perfect.
The food is always spectacular, my choices this year being fried mushrooms and steak-on-a-stick. I am extremely fond of hats and there is this one particular hat shoppe (The Hat People) that I cannot seem to escape. This year was no different. I have added 2 new hats to my collection, both of which will make their debut this week I’m sure. I’ll try and post pictures later. Generally the people-watching is the best reason to attend the Faire. The festival attracts all kinds and one can really see a cross-section of society. The people who don’t use sun-block never cease to amaze me. You always see some folks baring skin that hasn’t seen sunlight in several years…and no sun-block. Typically you begin to recognize these people throughout the day and you can systematically watch them begin to bake. Ouch! I feel for them the next day.

The festival always reminds me of how nice it is that we women can wear lighter clothing now. I think I would die if I had to wear all those layers bound up by a corset in the dead of summer and work outside. And why did men give up the kilt?? I think these are really attractive on men and they have got to be cooler! Practicality should drive most all fashion. However, I obviously don’t design clothes for a living…

If you have never attended the Faire, I recommend it. It is very much fun and a great day of being outside. Bring lots of water and for goodness sake…Sunblock!!

The Epic

This past week marked the opening of the final Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith. My friends had a Star Wars marathon at their house. It began at 8 in the morning and ended that night with the midnight showing of the movie. Talk about hard core! It was really fun to hear everyone making comments throughout the Playing of the precious movies. Sort of like Mystery Science Theater. Lots of Pringles being munched on and the chocolate Darth Vader cake that Christy made. She really makes good cake! The single worst dinner I have ever had, nutritional speaking. Taste was great though! It’s amazing how movies can bring people together. It is also very interesting how movies can place you in a specific time frame or a specific set of memories. The power of association. Great fun had by everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Where does it go? How do you save time? And if you save it, where is it stock-piled and why can't I use all that saved time?

Why can't we go back in time? I theoretically understand the concept of forward time-travel, but why not back? Emotionally many of us live in the time-past, is this a mode of backward time travel or just a way of not moving forward?

Is time to us earth-bound creatures simply our perception as is so many other things? We are our perceptions.

If I had more time...
If I hadn't wasted time...
If I could get that time back...

Time waits for no one.

Friday, May 13, 2005


I just finished watching Apollo 13 for the upteenth time.
What happened to the ingenuity and perseverance of humanity? Where has it gone? I know it still exists, but why isn't it the majority? What direction has our society gone that so buries the desire to excel? I see this movie and wonder, could we do this today? Could we work at something that seems all odds are against and still pull it off because, "...Failure is not an option..."?
I think that element is our reality. If you decide that a particular option no longer exists, does that make it really gone? Is our humanity just simply a stream of choices, or better still, a stream of choices not made? Because to not make a choice, is a choice.

In this movie, people team together to pull off what appears to be the impossible. It just occurred to me, what is impossible? I think our mind is what defines our possibilities.

Parachutes and minds are alike, they work best when open.

Our society needs some more open minds.

Do I Still Teach?

Last night in class we sparred. If you read my blog, you know this is one of my favorite things about martial arts. It is amazingly satisfying to see new students begin, watch them learn and grow and then to see them begin to take that training and turn it into something personal to them. One of our black stripes I sparred last night got me really good. Good technique and good speed. Oh and lots of power too! Although I got his technique blocked with my upper forearm, he still managed to glance off that and catch me in the ribs. Great shot. Tremendous bruise on the arm too.

So this begs the question, do I still teach anything? I really feel as though I don't sometimes. I try, I give it my all, but I wonder when you cease being a student's instructor. I learn every single day, every single class. All my students teach me new things; about myself, about how better to teach, about another way to see martial arts.
So, do I still teach others?
I really hope so, although I have little doubts sometimes.
However, I will never stop trying to.

Registration Hell

As my pursuit for higher education, or at least a career change, continues, I am always amazed at how difficult getting an education is.

I have to take a college Algebra class for my prerequisites. Basic College Algebra. I have had up through two years of Calculus. All from Richland, where I am trying to take this algebra class now. But lo and behold...the online registration says, "You have not met your prerequisites for this class. Please contact advising." Thus, the system would not let me register.
So, in desperation, I contacted the registrars' office. The registrars' office then directed me to the advising line. Of course, with it being registration right now, the recorded message suggested I register online. Wish I could, been there, tried that.
So I called the advising appointment line. I asked if the person I was speaking with could help me. The work-study student on the phone was very helpful but lacked the authority to assist me. This took 10 minutes to bring to light. She then transferred me to her advising director.

Finally, this woman was able to assist me. Consequently, we pulled up the class listings and found there was only one space left for the online math class I wanted.
She registered me while I was on the phone so I would get the spot. Now all I have to do is pay for it. So glad that is over with.
By the skin of my teeth....

Education should be a little easier to do, don't you think? The one thing that can improve society as a whole should be more straight forward to obtain.
At least I got it done.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
My mantra for life.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Therapy the way Nature Intended

As I noted in my previous blog, horses are cheaper than therapy. However a really cheap therapy is Mother Nature. As I was farm-sitting this weekend, I took the liberty of opening a bottle of wine and laying in the hammock outside. My friends live far enough out of Dallas that the light pollution is reduced; still present but much reduced. I laid there gazing at the stars, wrapped in a blanket with a bottle of wine between my legs and a full glass at my side. I didn't have to be anywhere, do anything or talk to anyone. Nothing. Just existence. I laid there for what I thought was a little bit...
When I finally went inside because of the nip in the air, I realized it was LATE. I had been out there for 2-3 hours without even realizing it. Just staring up into the sky and looking at the stars. I also noticed how much better I felt. It is necessary to turn off everything and do nothing.
I let the call of the night animals, the rustle of the trees, and the occasional snort of the horses be my music back-drop.
How quickly your body remembers the ebb and flow of nature. How easily your mind calms and follows that rhythm, that pace...if you let it.

True therapy, outside.
True music: earth, air, fire and water

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mom's day to Remember

For this Mother's Day I asked my 70 yr old Mom what she would like. Her response: To go horseback riding. She was who I learned to ride from, as I grew up on the back of a horse. We always had horses and I learned to ride before I could walk.

Since I don't own a horse at this time, I enlisted the help of my friend Kristi whom I was farm-sitting for this very weekend while she and her husband were out of town. Her mare Stormy is the perfect mount and is as bomb-proof and child-proof as they come. Worth her weight in gold as they say. Perfect. Kristi also owns Ace, a dark bay Thoroughbred gelding, whom I could ride along with my mom.

The day started out threatening rain, but cleared off and behaved itself properly. Mom came over and then we drove out to the farm in Farmersville, about 45 min north of where I live. I had left the horses up because of the possible rain and because it was still a bit muddy.

I saddled both horses, Stormy first. Initially we used the western saddle for Stormy but a couple laps in that and my mom wanted the hunter-English saddle. So I changed that out and off we went. Ace was very dashing tacked out in my dressage saddle. Dale and Kristi own a gorgeous piece of 8 acres completely hidden in a border of trees that envelopes the property. They lucked out on finding and buying the property and take immaculate care of it. So the pasture riding was perfect! Ace and Stormy occasionally exchanged flattened ears but otherwise the two get along great. Horses are like bikes, once you really know how to ride them, it comes back.

My mom hasn't really ridden since her horse, Blue, died at the age of 25. He was a gem among horses and is still missed something fierce. That was at least 6 or 7 years ago. However, Mom had no problem getting aboard Stormy, riding around (even managing a trot!!) and having a great time in the process.

There is an adage among horse people; although expensive, they are cheaper than therapy. This has been the best therapy Mom has had in ages. So, we will be trying to duplicate this event fairly regularly. Although a dear friend reminded me to take the camera, I of course, forgot it. But I will be taking pictures next Sun morning. We will be going back as long as Dale and Kristi don't mind us invading!

I hope I am still horse-back at 70. I hope I am still diving, hiking, and generally being crazy at that age. I'll do my best to try. Kudos to my mom. And by the way, she said it was the best Mom's day in along time.

Time...The greatest gift of all.